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Eli Milton was born in England in the early 1800s. Mary, his first wife, was born in England, died, and was buried at sea. They had four children, Peter, James, Caleb, and Ann. Eli remarried Mary Smithers of Adams County, Wisconsin. Four sons were born to this couple in Fox Lake, Wisconsin. They were Charles (oldest), Nephi, Eli, and Elmer. Caleb moved to California. I do not know about him or his family. James moved to Delavan, Wisconsin. He married and I think there were five children, one of whom was named Eli. Eli married Maud Featherstone and had one son, Wiley, who lived in Delavan, married Esther, and had two children. Eli died in 1952; Maud died in 1972; their son, Wiley, died in 1967 and his wife Esther died in 1969. Jason, Wiley's son, lives in Delavan.
This account is also from Don Patrick's book, probably related by his mother, Lucy Baird Patrick:
"Peter Milton was born in Derbyshire, England on Oct. 16, 1833. Peter, with his parents and brothers, came to America. His mother died and was buried at sea. They came to Chicago, IL where he met and married Ann Greeley. While working in Chicago on 'salt docks' he heard of a place in Kilbourn, Wisconsin that paid $5.00 per day. He packed up his family and went by train to find that the pay was not cash, but store credit. So they then moved to Adams Co. Wisconsin near Arkdale where they homesteaded and lived on a farm. A group of Norwegian people wanted his land for their settlement and offered him $500 in gold dollars. The gold was worth $1500 in paper money as this was just after the Civil War. He decided that he would like to live near Lake Geneva, Wis. He packed his family in a covered wagon and with an ox team started toward Lake Geneva stopping at Byrns farm near Fox Lake, Wis. He told Byrns that he was looking for a farm. Byrns, who owned everything on the south side of Fox Lake, showed him around and Peter homesteaded a farm on the north side of Fox Lake".
As far as I can tell, the town of 'Kilbourn' has ceased to exist. It doesn't show up in the MapQuest database or in the U.S. census data. There is a town of 'Kilbournville', but it is just south of Milwaukee, quite far from Adams County, where Peter first homesteaded. Interestingly, Peter's brother James (and his family) and Peter's son James lived in Delavan, Wisconsin, just northwest of Lake Geneva. Peter may have been traveling back to that area to settle near his brother when he decided to stop at Fox Lake.
Some new information, kindly provided by Lou Geiger, has recently come to my attention that adds to and changes some of the details of the above accounts.
Through research at the Omaha Family History Center, Lou found entries for Miltons in Westham and Pevensey, Sussex, England, marked by the star [see several maps in the Milton area on the Map Central page]. She contacted the County Archivist, who looked up and verified the information. The line extends back from Charles Milton (b. 1807), through William (b. 1762), David (b. 1717), and William (unknown birth date, but would have been late 1600s). These people are shown on the Milton Family outline, and graphically on my family tree (on the Data Page). The records are church baptismal and marriage records, which unfortunately are in such bad condition that copies could not be obtained.
In these records the names of the father and mother (Charles and Anne) do not match the names of the parents (Eli and Mary) that have been part of the oral history of the Miltons (see above). However, other evidence, such as the names and ages of the children, do match the oral history, making it certain that this is the same family who emigrated to Wisconsin. It also appears that their place of origin was not Derbyshire, which is in the north of England, but, rather, in Sussex, on the south coast of England. The Sussex connection is also verified by the obituary of Peter Milton.
An 1841 census record from the county of Sussex, England, shows the Charles Milton family. This document records Charles at 33 years old, his wife, Anne, 32, and six children, Ann, James, Peter, Caleb, Charles, and William. [The church records indicate the mother's name was spelled Anne, not Ann.] The family shows up again ten years later, in the 1851 census of Sussex. Note that in 1851 the family consists of Charles, the mother Anne, and children Caleb and William. This census document is noteworthy because it shows (1) that the older sons have moved out of the household, and (2) that Charles and his wife and some children were still in England in 1851.
The scene then shifts to America. The obituary of Charles' son Peter states that Peter immigrated in 1850, so perhaps he and a brother or two moved to this country first. Then, several years later the father, Charles, and mother, Anne, followed. On an 1860 citizenship application form Charles stated that he entered the country in 1856. This date would also probably mark the death of the mother Anne, who presumably died at sea as they were traveling to America.
From the story of Peter, Sr., we know that he made his way to Chicago, where he was married to Ann Greeley in 1855, at the age of 21 or 22. Ann was also an immigrant, from Oranmore, County Galway, Ireland, just southeast of Galway City. According to Ann's obituary [she was also referred to as Hannah or Hanna] she entered the country in 1848 and settled in Chicago. After the twins Ann and Mary were born in 1858, the Peter Miltons moved to the Arkdale area in Adams County. According to Peter's obituary they lived there for about seven years before moving to the Fox Lake area (Trenton township).
In the meantime, Charles had entered the country at New York in 1856, had probably met son, Peter, in Chicago, and then moved with him to Wisconsin in 1858. The first documentation of the family in this country is in the census records of Wisconsin in 1860 and 1870. In the 1860 census only Charles is listed, without wife or children. By 1870 Charles had remarried (to Mary Cramer, according to his son Eli's obituary) and had started a new family. By 1860, son William had been born to Peter and Ann.
Charles and Mary Cramer probably married in 1866 because in the 1870 census data Mary's age is given as 21 and their son Nephi's [Naphi] age is given as 4. Charles and Mary's son Elmer was born in Strong's Prairie, a town just west of Arkdale in Adams County, in 1877. If that date is correct Charles would have been about 70 years old at the time of Elmer's birth. Their son Eli J. was born in 1869, and their son Charles was born in about 1872.
We know that Peter, Sr., and Ann continued to have children until Hattie was born in 1876, when Peter was 42 years old and Ann was nearly 41. Hattie was thus older than her uncle Elmer, who was born almost two years later.
Charles and Mary had stayed on in Adams County after Peter and Ann moved to Fox Lake. They may have eventually moved to Fox Lake, because that is where they are both buried, according to Don Patrick's book. It seems odd that there is no death date recorded for Charles. His death date could probably be located at the church or cemetery or in the Court House if he died at Fox Lake. Alternatively, he may have died in Adams County, and Mary may have moved in with Peter and Ann in her later years. She died in Fox Lake in 1914. Their son, Elmer, died at a relatively young age of 48, also in Fox Lake.
Peter died in 1910 at the ripe old age of 76 in Fox Lake, and Ann died later that same year at the age of 75, leaving quite a legacy.
We know little of the families of Peter, Sr.'s brothers and sister, and we know almost nothing about the families of his half-brothers. His sister Ann is said to have married someone named Waymark, in London, and is presumed to have remained in England. His older brother, James, moved to Delavan, and his brother Caleb moved to California. His half-brother, Charles, is said to have not married. His half-brother Eli J. was married, but his obituary didn't mention children.
Some of the children of Peter and Ann are well-documented, such as Mary, whose descendents include the Bairds and Patricks of Wisconsin. Charles Henry's descendents have been traced to the current generation; their roots are now in Ohio and Texas and I hope to fill in some more data on that family. Peter, Jr.'s family is well-established and documented in the Spencer area of northwest Iowa, and Henry's family (my connection) is documented in north-central Iowa in the Little Cedar area. Finally, Hattie's descendents are also still in Wisconsin and fairly well-documented, although not much is known about the youngest generation.
As for the descendents of Ann, William, Cecilia, Jane, James, and Frank Milton--the other children of Peter, Sr.--either they didn't have many children or we have just lost touch. I suspect it is the latter, and hope to make contact with some of those families.
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